Do you really care about what you take in to your body, as food much less indirectly through your skin?
For many, a commitment to health sounds more
like a commitment to a life of paranoia and
deprivation.[Exactly!!-I know the feel] The most common argument I hear
is that it isn’t “healthy” to spend a life in
fear of every product that is out there. For
those with a busy lifestyle, it sure may seem
overwhelming to think of adding more things to
watch out for on top of our existing concerns.
While I understand this perspective, I am
writing this article to make it simpler for you.
Remove the words paranoia, deprivation and
concern from your vocabulary, and replace
them with “Being Informed”.
Being informed will simply allow you to make
more intelligent and conscious choices for
yourself, your family, and the planet as a
whole. You might lose a couple of seconds of
your life while looking for detrimental
chemicals on product labels, but is that any
match for the healthier years you’ll add to
your life, the illnesses you’ll avoid, and the
example you will be in support of a more
The truth is, many of the ingredients in
personal care and beauty products aren’t so
pretty, U.S. researchers have found that one
in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in
cosmetic and personal care products are
hazardous industrial chemicals. This means
that 10,500 industrial chemicals are used as
cosmetic ingredients, many of which are
carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins,
endocrine disruptors, plasticizers (chemicals
that keep concrete soft), degreasers (used to
get grime off auto parts) and
surfactants (they reduce surface tension in
water, like in paint and inks). And these go on
our skin and into the environment…
And our skin, has a very high absorption rate which transports materials STRAIGHT to our “blood stream!!”. So do you see why you should be label-conscious?? I hope you see the reason. I’ll like you to join me, as I go through some of the RED-LABELLED cosmetic and body-care ingredients.
There’s a saying that goes; you should only use products as healthy as you can eat on your skin.
Which I agree with, what’s the use of those big names on your labels that makes that cream your favourite?
And I’ll also have to apologise in advance, to all those who’ll have to ditch the favourite cosmetic they just made a splurge on and even make up!
I’m Sorry Dearies.. ♥
Here we go:
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT
In moisturizer, makeup, etc. Can cause cancer
and interfere with hormone function. Harmful
to fish and other wildlife.
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Why Used?: BHA and BHT are closely related
synthetic antioxidants used as preservatives in
lipsticks and moisturizers, among other
cosmetics. They are also widely used as food
Health and Environmental Hazards: BHA and
BHT can induce allergic reactions in the
skin. The International Agency for Research
on Cancer classifies BHA as a possible human
carcinogen. The European Commission on
Endocrine Disruption has also listed BHA as a
Category 1 priority substance, based on
evidence that it interferes with
Long-term exposure to high doses of BHT is
toxic in mice and rats, causing liver, thyroid
and kidney problems and affecting lung
function and blood coagulation. BHT can act as
a tumour promoter in certain
situations. Limited evidence suggests that high
doses of BHT may mimic estrogen, the
primary female sex hormone, and prevent
expression of male sex hormones, resulting in
adverse reproductive affects.
Under the Convention for the Protection of the
Marine Environment of the North-East
Atlantic, BHA is listed as a chemical of
potential concern, noting its toxicity to aquatic
organisms and potential to
bioaccumulate. Likewise, a United Nations
Environment Program assessment noted that
BHT had a moderate to high potential for
bioaccumulation in aquatic species (though the
assessment deemed BHT safe for humans.
Regulatory Status: The use of BHA and BHT in
cosmetics is unrestricted in Canada, although
Health Canada has categorized BHA as a “high
human health priority” on the basis of
carcinogenicity and BHT as a “moderate
human health priority”. Both chemicals have
been flagged for future assessment under the
government’s Chemicals Management Plan.
International regulations are stronger. The
European Union prohibits the use of BHA as
fragrance ingredient in cosmetics. The State
of California requires warning labels on
products containing BHA, notifying consumers
that this ingredient may cause cancer.
Triclosan: a synthetic “antibacterial”
ingredient – with a chemical structure similar
to Agent Orange! The EPA registers it as a
pesticide, giving it high scores as a risk to
both human health and the environment. It is
classified as a chlorophenol, a class of
chemicals suspected of causing cancer in
humans. Its manufacturing process may
produce dioxin, a powerful hormone-disrupting
chemical with toxic effects measured in the
parts per trillion; that is only one drop in 300
Olympic-size swimming pools! Hormone
disruptors pose enormous long-term chronic
health risks by interfering with the way
hormones perform, such as changing genetic
material, decreasing fertility and sexual
function, and fostering birth defects. It can
temporarily deactivate sensory nerve endings,
so contact with it often causes little or no pain.
Internally, it can lead to cold sweats,
circulatory collapse, and convulsions. Stored in
body fat, it can accumulate to toxic levels,
damaging the liver, kidneys and lungs and can
cause paralysis, suppression of immune
function,brain hemorrhages, and heart
problems. Tufts University School of Medicine
says that triclosan is capable of forcing the
emergence of “super bugs” that it cannot kill.
Its widespread use in popular antibacterial
cleaners, tooth pasts and household products
may have nightmare implications for our
Alternative – Therapeutic Essential Oils.
Alcohol, Isopropyl (SD-40): a very drying and
irritating solvent and dehydrator that strips
your skin’s moisture and natural immune
barrier, making you more venerable
to bacteria, molds and viruses. It is made from
propylene, a petroleum derivative and is found
in many skin and hair products, fragrance,
antibacterial hand washes as well as shellac
and antifreeze. It can act as a “carrier”
accelerating the penetration of other harmful
chemicals into your skin. It may promote brown
spots and premature aging of skin. A
Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients
says it may cause headaches, flushing,
dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting,
narcosis, anesthesia, and coma. Fatal ingested
dose is one ounce or less.
Imidazolidinyl Urea and Diazolidinyl Urea — These are
the most commonly used preservatives after the
parabens. DMDM Hydantion & Urea (Imidazolidinyl)just
two of many preservatives that often release
formaldehyde which may cause joint pain, skin
reactions, allergies, depression, headaches,
chest pains, ear infections, chronic fatigue,
dizziness, and loss of sleep. Exposure may also
irritate the respiratory system, trigger heart
palpitations or asthma, and aggravate coughs
and colds. Other possible side effects include
weakening the immune system and cancer. And they are well established as a primary cause of contact dermatitis (American Academy of
Dermatology). Two trade names for these chemicals are
Germall II and Germall 115. Neither of the Germall
chemicals have a good antifungal, and must be combined
with other preservatives. Germall 115 releases
formaldehyde at just over 10°. These chemicals are
Methyl and Propyl and Butyl and Ethyl Paraben —
Used as inhibitors of microbial growth and to extend shelf life of products. Widely used even though they are
known to be toxic. Have caused many allergic reactions and skin rashes. Methyl paraben combines benzoic acid
with the methyl group of chemicals. Highly toxic.
Used in some hair products for shine and as a moisture barrier in some lip balms, lip sticks and moisturizers.
I see this on lip products from time to
time, which is humorous to me because they’re usually they’re advertised as protecting the lips from sunburn, chapping and so forth. Petrolatum is mineral oil jelly, and mineral oil causes a lot of problems when used on the skin photosensitivity (i.e., promotes sun damage), and it tends to interfere with the body’s own natural moisturizing mechanism, leading to dry skin and
chapping. You are being sold a product that creates the very conditions it claims to alleviate. Manufacturers use
petrolatum because it is unbelievably cheap.
Polyethylene Glycol (PEG): potentially
carcinogenic petroleum ingredient that can alter and reduce the skin’s natural moisture factor. This could increase the appearance of aging and leave you more
vulnerable to bacteria. Used in cleansers to dissolve oil and grease. It adjusts the melting point and thickens products. Also used in caustic spray-on oven cleaners.
Propylene Glycol ( PG ) and Butylene Glycol:
gaseous hydrocarbons which in a liquid state act as “surfactant” (wetting olagents and solvents). They easily penetrate the skin and
can weaken protein and cellular structure.
Commonly used to make extracts from herbs. Ideally, propylene gyccol, is a vegetable glycerin
mixed with grain alcohol, both of which are natural. Usually it is a synthetic petrochemical mix used as a humectant. And has been known to cause allergic and toxic reactions.
PG is strong enough to remove barnacles from
boats! The EPA considers PG so toxic that it tequires workers to wear protective gloves, clothing and goggles and to dispose of any PG solutions by burying them in the ground. Because PG penetrates the skin so quickly, the EPA warns against skin contact to prevent consequences such as brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities. But there isn’t even a warning label on products such as stick deodorants, where the concentration is greater than in most industrial applications.
Alternatives – water extracted herbs,
Therapeutic Essential Oils, etc.
PVP/VA Copolymer — A petroleum-derived chemical used in hairsprays, wavesets and other cosmetics. It can
be considered toxic, since particles may contribute to foreign bodies in the lungs of sensitive persons.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) : detergents and surfactants
that pose serious health threats. Used in car washes, garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers – and in 90% of personal-care products that foam. This synthetic substance is used in shampoos for its detergent and foam-building abilities it causes eye irritations, skin rashes, hair loss,
scalp scurf similar to dandruff, and allergic reactions being exposed to SLS
also causes eye damage, depression, labored
breathing, diarrhea, severe skin irritation,
and even death. Young eyes may not develop
properly if exposed to SLS because proteins are dissolved. SLS may also damage the skins immune system by causing layers to separate
and inflame. When combined with other chemicals, SLS can be transformed into nitrosamines, a potent class of carcinogens.
Your body may retain the SLS for up to five days, during which tie it may enter and maintain residual levels in the heart, liver, the lungs, and the brain. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, is frequently disguised in pseudo-natural cosmetics with the parenthetic explanation “comes from coconut.” ( chuckles**-they’ve been exposed! !)
Alternative – Ammonium Cocoyl Isethionate.
Stearalkonium Chloride — A chemical used in hair
conditioners and creams. Causes allergic reactions.
Stearalkonium chloride was developed by the fabric
industry as a fabric softener, and is a lot cheaper and
easier to use in hair conditioning formulas than proteins
or herbals, which do help hair health. Toxic.
Coal Tar Dyes
Look for P-PHENYLENEDIAMINE in hair dyes
and colours identified as “C.I.” followed by
five digits in other products. Potential to cause
cancer and can be contaminated with heavy
metals toxic to the brain.
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Why Used?: Coal tar-derived colours are used
extensively in cosmetics, generally identified
by a five-digit Colour Index (C.I.) number. The
U.S. colour name may also be listed (“FD&C” or
“D&C” followed by a colour name and number).
P-phenylenediamine is a particular coal tar
dye used in many hair dyes. Darker hair dyes
tend to contain more phenylenediamine than
Health and Environmental Hazards: Coal tar is
a mixture of many chemicals, derived from
petroleum, Coal tar is recognized as a human
carcinogen and the main concern with
individual coal tar colours (whether produced
from coal tar or synthetically) is their
potential to cause cancer. These colours may as
well be contaminated with low levels of heavy
metals and some are combined with aluminum
substrate. Aluminum compounds and many
heavy metals are toxic to the brain. Some
colours are not approved as food additives,
yet they are used in cosmetics that may be
ingested, like lipstick. (In the U.S. colour
naming system, “FD&C” indicates colours
approved by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration for use in foods, drugs, and
cosmetics. “D&C” colours are not approved for
use in food.)
P-phenylenediamine has been linked to
tumours in laboratory tests conducted by the
U.S. National Cancer Institute. A review of the
epidemiologic literature confirmed statistically
significant associations between hair dye use
and development of several types of cancer
although the authors concluded that the
evidence was insufficient to determine that
the hair dyes had caused the cancers. A
separate study found that women who used
hair dyes — especially over extended periods —
had an increased risk of developing non-
Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer of the lymph
system). However, there is conflicting
evidence, with other research suggesting no
strong association between cancer and hair
dye use. The International Agency for
Research on Cancer therefore concluded that
personal use of hair dyes is currently “not
classifiable as to its carcinogenicity in
humans.” The European Union classifies p-
phenylenediamine as toxic (in contact with
skin, by inhalation, or if swallowed), and as
very toxic to aquatic organisms, noting that it
may cause long-term adverse effects in the
Regulatory Status: Several coal tar dyes are
prohibited on Health Canada’s Cosmetic
Ingredient Hotlist and Canada’s Cosmetic
Regulations prohibit all but seven of these
colours in eye makeup and other products used
in the area of the eye. However, dozens of
coal tar-derived colours are still widely used
in other cosmetics. Some have been flagged for
future assessment under the government’s
Chemicals Management Plan.
Synthetic Colors — The synthetic colors used to
supposedly make a cosmetic “pretty” should be avoided
at all costs, along with hair dyes. They will be labeled as
FD&C or D&C, followed by a color and a number. Example:
FD&C Red No. 6 / D&C Green No. 6. Synthetic colors are
believed to be cancer-causing agents. If a cosmetic
contains them, don’t use it.
synthetic colors made
from coal tar, containing heavy metal salts
that deposit toxins into the skin, causing skin
sensitivity and irritation. Absorption of certain
colors can cause depletion of oxygen in the
body and death. Animal studies have shown
almost all of them to be carcinogenic.
Synthetic Fragrances — mostly synthetic
ingredients can indicate the presence of up to
four thousand separate ingredients, many toxic or carcinogenic. Symptoms reported to the FDA include headaches, dizziness, allergic
rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing and vomiting, and skin irritation. Clinical observation proves fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression,
hyperactivity, irritability, inability to
cope, and other behavioral changes.
Alternative – Organic Essential Oils.
There is really no way to know what the chemicals are, since on the
label it will simply say “Fragrance.” BE ALERT!!!
Mineral Oil: petroleum by-product that coats the skin like plastic, clogging the pores. Interferes with skin’s ability to eliminate toxins, promoting acne and other disorders. Slows down skin function and cell development, resulting in premature aging.
Used in many products such as baby oil which is 100% mineral oil!
Alternatives – Moisture Magnets (Saccharide
Isomerate) from beets; Ceramides, Jojoba and
other vegetable oils, etc.
DEA (diethanolamine), MEA
(Monoethanolamine) & TEA (triethanolamine):
hormone-disrupting chemicals that can form cancer-causing nitrates and nitrosamines. These chemicals are already restricted in Europe due to known carcinogenic effects. In
the United States however, they are still used despite the fact that Americans may be exposed to them 10-20 times per day with products such as shampoos, shaving creams and bubble baths. Dr. Samuel Epstein (Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Illinois) says that repeated skin applications…. of DEA-based detergents resulted in major
increase in incidence of liver and kidney cancer. The FDA’s John Bailey says this is especially important since “the risk equation changes significantly for children”. TEA is often used in cosmetics to adjust
the pH, and used with many fatty acids to convert acid to salt (stearate), which then becomes the base for a cleanser. TEA causes allergic reactions including eye
problems, dryness of hair and skin, and could be toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time.
Siloxanes (Cyclomethicone and ingredients
ending in “siloxane” (e.g., cyclotetrasiloxane)
Widely used in moisturizer, makeup, hair products, etc. Can interfere with hormone
function and damage the liver. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
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Why Used?: These silicone-based compounds are used in cosmetics to soften, smooth, and moisten. They make hair products dry more
quickly and deodorant creams slide on more easily. They are also used extensively in moisturizers and facial treatments. Siloxanes can also be found in medical implants, water-
repelling windshield coatings, building sealants and lubricants.
Health and Environmental
Hazards: Environment Canada assessments concluded that cyclotetrasiloxane and
cylcopentasiloxane — also known as D4 and D5
— are toxic, persistent, and have the potential to bioaccumulate in aquatic organisms. Also,
the European Union classifies D4 as a
endocrine disruptor, based on evidence that it interferes with human hormone function, and
a possible reproductive toxicant that may impair human fertility. In laboratory experiments, exposure to high doses of D5 has been shown to cause uterine tumours and harm
to the reproductive and immune systems. D5 can also influence neurotransmitters in the
Structurally similar to D4 and D5,
cyclohexasiloxane (or D6) is also persistent and has the potential to bioaccumulate.
Environment Canada’s assessment of D6 concluded that this third siloxane is not entering the environment in a quantity or concentration that endangers human health or
the environment, but noted significant data gaps concerning its toxicity.
Cyclomethicone is a mixture of D4, D5, and D6 siloxanes.
Regulatory Status: January 2009, Environment canada and Health Canada proposed to add
D4 and D5 siloxanes to the List of Toxic substances pursuant to the Canadian environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA), and to develop regulations “to limit the quantity or concentration of D4 and D5 in certain personal care products.”. In addition, under CEPA, anyone proposing a “significant new activity” involving siloxanes must notify
the Minister of the Environment. However, there are currently no restrictions on these
ingredients in cosmetics.
Related Ingredients: Polydimethylsiloxane
(PDMS) silicone polymers are produced from D4
and contain residual amounts of D4 and D5.
Dimethicone is a common PDMS ingredient in cosmetics.
Other Common Toxic Ingredients To Avoid:
Para-Aminobenzoic Acid (PABA)
To Summarize: Look for natural ingredients in the
products you buy. Do not use cosmetics that are
artificially colored. Is the shampoo bright green or blue?
Very likely it contains a coal tar color. Does the product contain synthetic fragrances? Don’t buy it. You may find that some of your allergy problems will suddenly disappear when you no longer use cosmetics formulated with petrochemicals and other synthetics. Just like I had a serious irritation on my face when I used a minty hair cream which contained mineral oil. .trust me, you don’t want to experience that. .It could be worse on your skin! Go Green!!! Although complete greens are hard to find, I’ll let you know about them when I’ve got the whole gist. 😉
And be careful, because sometimes, a product may be stamped organic or since it’s herbal or whatever-green_insinuating name is associated with it, you think it’s FREE from toxins but it’s not always so.
Yes, we know God is taking care of us, but we can’t take advantage of that and get careless. .just like we can’t just eat anyhow and around like an insane person, because God is watching over us. . . 😉
Reference: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/health/science/toxics/dirty-dozen-cosmetic-chemicals/ David Suzuki